Saturday, November 22, 2014
A top local police official in Mexico has been arrested in connection with the disappearance of 43 college students, authorities said
Investigators apprehended Cesar Nava Gonzalez, the former deputy director of the Cocula police department who had been on the run since the September 2014 disappearance of the students, the federal prosecutor's office said. Nava was called to the neighboring town of Iguala, in Guerrero state, and helped round up the 43 students and hand them over to a drug gang to be massacred, authorities said. The police chief of Iguala still has not been apprehended, authorities said. The Prosecutor General's office has informed families of the missing students about Nava's arrest after massive protests to denounce political corruption and impunity in the case. The 43 missing students went missing September 26, 2014 after they and others traveled in buses about 77 miles from their rural teachers college in Tixtla to Iguala. They went there to protest a speech by the mayor's wife. But a violent clash with police left six people dead, including three other students. Authorities believe that the 43 students were captured by Iguala police and turned over to a gang in cartel territory and then executed in Cocula, 14 miles away. The gang burned the bodies and dumped them in a river, but their corpses have yet to be found, authorities say. So far, authorities have also charged Iguala Mayor Jose Luis Abarca as the "probable mastermind" in the 43 students' disappearance, and he has been charged with six counts of aggravated homicide and one count of attempted homicide, authorities said. In all, at least 75 people have been arrested in connection with the disappearances and the deaths, and the governor of Guerrero has taken a leave of absence amid scorching criticism that he responded too slowly to what's been called one of the most serious human rights abuses in recent Latin American history. Federal authorities say that they heard confessions from drug traffickers indicating that the college students were rounded up on the orders of the Iguala mayor and then delivered to the drug gang to be murdered.